WHEN Hollywood needed a drop-dead gorgeous location for the fictional Mongibello in The Talented Mr Ripley, they chose the Italian island of Ischia.
Feeling murderously hungry and in the mood for Italian it was Ischia for the D’Angers too, but we don’t have a private jet, so we had to make do with Ischia Restaurant in Highgate.
All around us people were enjoying woodfired pizza, whether a bianche (no tomato sauce) or a rosse, basically a Margherita with a myriad of topping options.
There’s a bianca with roasted potatoes, fresh Italian pork sausage and caramelised onion ($24) or a four-cheese formaggi ($23), and rosse with prawns, wild mushrooms and smoked mozzarella ($25), or with ventricina salami, pancetta, leg ham and pork sausage ($23).
You can also get pizza by the metre, with 60, 120 and 180cm options for the hungry hordes.
My pizza-loving hubby wanted something simple, and opted for a straight Margherita ($16).
Simple it may have been, but the tomato sauce was deliciously rich with mozzarella, parmigiano cheeses and fresh basil.
The secret to a good dough is in the proofing, and the owners, brothers Sebi and Daniele Conte, ensure theirs takes two days, guaranteeing an exceptionally light and fluffy base.
I’d spotted the specials board and and opted for the penne alla cafona ($21).
The tubes were perfectly al dente, and the napolitana sauce, with eggplant, capsicum and basil, was wonderfully oily.
As with all good pasta, the deeper I got in to the dish the richer the flavours became, causing me to slow down to really appreciate them.
We finished our meal with a couple of tora caprese ($9).
Served warm it was rather like a soft and moist fudge, with a nice almond crunch and a chocolate rush that, like the three bears porridge, was just right, not too sweet and not too sharp.
The service was spot on, and when the wind whipped through the alfresco area, staff were happy to move us to a more sheltered table inside, which still had views of Beaufort Street and the Mary Street piazza.
by JENNY D’ANGER
500 Beaufort Street, Highgate
open Sun–Thurs 12 noon to
10pm, Fri/Sat until 11pm